As they say "Location...location...location"
If you are a game developer who is looking for the next city to move in, Orlando, FL should be on your list. It is on the perfect edge between not too expensive. It has everything you need to start or continue your game development journey.
You can look up for different statistics, reviews, and other smart information. But, I will provide some inside view and the five reasons why I am considering Orlando as my next place to be.
1.Active Game Developer Comunity.
My Discord is full of awesome game dev chats, but they can't replace any real conversation. To be honest with you, I was thinking of quitting the game developing a couple of times. But as soon as you meet with another developer and just talk it out, it helps to understand that it is not only you who are struggling with the same problem, and your game is not so bad.
I went to Global Game Jame in 2019 in Orlando, where I find out about Indienomicon. I did the video about my adventure:
Indienomicon - one of the most growing local indie game dev community. They organize different game jams, a monthly meeting, invite local and non-local industry speakers, fun activities, etc. During events, you will easily find anyone to chat with. By the way, they did not pay me to say that, but they are really awesome. If you are planning to visit Orlando someday soon, you should come to one of the meetings.
To find out more visit the website http://indienomicon.com and to check upcoming events go to Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Indienomicon/
It is crucial to be surrounded by the same self-learned developers but also has the ability to hire or consult with industry professionals. I am talking about the guys with game dev degree, or maybe you are planning to become one of them.
There are a lot of universities around that specialize in game development. But from the top of my head, I can name two most popular, and I had the opportunity to work with their students:
Full Sail University.
UCF (University of Central Florida)
If you need to update your skills but don't feel like going to University, you can check Orlando Public Library. It has impressive Blender, Unity, and other classes, also, the library aloud to rent equipment, rooms with greenscreen, voice recording booth.
To check classes schedule, click here:
Read more about renting:
Orlando is a fast-growing tech city. So if you like me depending on a full-time job in a different industry, I am sure that you will find that fits your financial needs and leave some time for game development.
If you are looking for a job in the game industry, Orlando has a lot of game startups, middle game dev companies, and one large company - EA games.
The average salary in the Orlando Area is around $65,000
It depends if you are moving by yourself or with a family, but the price to rent apartments will be around $2,000 and buy a house $250,000.
You can check areas around Orlando, and prices are lower. As an example, I am leaving in Flagler County (it is around 80 miles away too far, but you can find house less than $200,000)
Honestly, I don't know much about taxes, and this is why I have an accountant. But according to different sources, Florida considers as the tax-friendly state. So I never complain about them, compare to my LA friends.
You can find more specific information here: https://turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tips/fun-facts/states-with-the-highest-and-lowest-taxes/L6HPAVqSF
I think that inspiration is the most crucial part of every city. People in Orlando are saying that "Mouse running the city." It is true not only the two largest theme parks available, but you can also observe the influence of them in the city from architecture to the names of the streets.
My favorite place is at Eola Lake. You can work around during lunch break and just spend some quiet time walking and thinking about a new game.
Of course, as a growing city, it has its flaws. But at the end of the day, I think that Orlando has everything that it needs to become number #1 city for game developers.
If you have any questions or comments, hit me in the comment section below, and also, if you are planning to visit Orlando, let me know.